Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Progressive Workers Movement

The Federal Elections

First Published: Progressive Worker, Vol 2. No. 3, January 1966.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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The November federal election brought to light some strange alliances, not the least of which was the Communist Party and the League for Socialist Action walking on the same side of the street.

True, the L.S.A. exerted a great deal of energy trying to prove they were different, but this only led them to making forecasts that proved to be absolutely ridiculous. L.S.A spokesmen claimed the C.P. call for the election of a bloc of progressives meant support for Tories and Socreds, while they (the L.S.A.) proceeded on the basis that a N.D.P. election victory and N.D.P. government was possible. In B.C. L.S.A. spokesmen were forecasting a two-million-plus vote and minority government status for the N.D.P.

Despite the L.S.A. partisan accusation that the C.P. was giving less than wholehearted and unqualified support to the N.D.P., the actual record tells a different story. When the Progressive workers Movement entered the elections in Vancouver East on the basis of a revolutionary program, both L.S.A. and C.P. united in attacking the P.W.M. candidate and according support to the N.D.P. nominee who had a particularly bad parliamentary record on matters affecting the labour movement.

The C.P. organization gave wide distribution to a letter addressed to electors in Vancouver East. This communication was referred to in a letter to the editor in last month’s Progressive Worker, with the suggestion we publish it in full. Here it is, complete:

Dear Friend:

In just a few days 10 million Canadian voters will choose a new government. It is one of the most important elections in our history. The old line parties are both pleading for a chance to carry out all of the promises which they have failed to implement in the last 98 years. In reality the election of a Liberal or Tory majority government means another four years of national betrayal, involvement in U.S. war plans, sellout of our northern resources, the further split between French and English Canada, failure to use automation for the people, the road to national destruction.

There is an alternative. That alternative is the election of a bloc of candidates dedicated to policies of national survival – peace, independent foreign policy, planning for automation, development of our resources, and a solution to the of Canadian unity. We hope that some of the 12 Communist Party candidates will be a part of the progressive bloc. In Vancouver East, the Communist Party not running a candidate because there is a sitting member of the NDP – Harold Winch.

Jerry Le Bourdais of the Progressive Workers Movement is opposing Winch. His candidacy will serve only to split the progressive vote and strengthen the position of the Tories and Liberals. Le Bourdals is no Communist. He represents a divisive splinter group, which consistently opposes the idea that war can be prevented, and that a democratic alternative to the Tories and Liberals can become the elected government. Le Bourdais and his group attack the Communist Party of Canada. which for 43 years has championed the rights of workers in Vancouver East and all across Canada. To the Le Bourdais group the Soviet Union, which has consistently defended world peace, is attacked as an enemy of socialism on the same level as the aggressors in Vietnam, Dominican Republic and elsewhere. In short, Le Bourdais is the opposite of a progressive, for his policies give only aid and comfort to the old line parties.

In Vancouver East defeat the Tories and Liberals and reject the splitting tactics of the Le Bourdais group. Ensure Vancouver East a voice in the progressive bloc in our new parliament.

Sincerely yours,
Vancouver East Club,
Communist Party of Canada.

A week after the election, Mr. Tom McEwen in his Pacific Tribune column brazenly admitted to having suppressed a communication from a reader because the P.T. did not desire “to publish anything that might be construed to be derogatory of a certain unique N.D.P. M.P.”! while the election was pending. McEwen, it should be noted, did not challenge the truth of the communication, on the contrary, he upheld it in every detail. But McEwen is of the opinion that the truth must be withheld from the electorate until after they have safely elected the man of his choice. Although no names were used, this choice candidate was obviously the same one that was being so vigorously defended by both L.S.A. and C.P. against the terrible P.W.M.

No matter how much they try to appear different on superficial questions, the hard fact is that the C.P. and the L.S.A. are in complete agreement on fundamentals. They are of one opinion on the point that revolutionary change is “passe,” that Socialism will come through the capitalist-controlled parliament and ballot boxes, and that this miracle will be brought about by the Social-Democratic N.D.P. We don’t argue with their right to hold those opinions, but they should quit cluttering up the highway of progress by pretending to be revolutionaries.

The P.W.M. put on a vigorous campaign, putting in every home a copy of the program which was published two issues ago, and speaking at numerous meetings. The 300 votes obtained represented, for the most part, a fully class-conscious vote, and indicated the existence of a firm base for the development of a revolutionary political organization in the area.